It's almost that time of year again. The weather is starting to cool and you are ready to take your entertaining outdoors.
There is nothing like the fresh air to create a nice atmosphere. The great outdoors provides many positive aspects of entertaining, but it does take some preparation and thought.
Here are some outdoor entertaining tips for making your next outdoor gathering a success.
Pay Attention to Mother Nature
There is nothing like planning an outdoor get-together only to have it rain. Make sure you have a plan b. Mother nature has a mind of her own and if you don't have a backup plan it's almost guaranteed to provide a hiccup. Along those same lines, make sure you are prepared for other weather related issues. If it's going to be hot, make sure you have enough fans, water and cooling area.
On the other extreme, if it's going to be cool, provide blankets, heaters or a fire pit.
If it's windy, be sure you have weights for tablecloths and other decor. You can really have fun with the weights too, try using shells, stones or other theme type items instead of the store bought weights. Heavier plates utensils and cups are also a plus, if at all possible. Melamine is a great alternative to paper or cheap plastic plates.
Prep the Yard
Make sure you mow your lawn and trim your trees. No one wants to stand in grass to their knees and your trees should allow for walking without ducking, so that even your tallest guest should be ok. If you are in an area with a lot of bugs, spray your grass a few days before, or provide bug spray for guests as they arrive. No one wants to leave a party with bites up and down their legs.
Allow for Shaded Areas
Most people will seek out shaded areas. If you can, provide shade with umbrellas or canopies.
It never hurts to have a few extra umbrellas in open areas especially in the extreme heat.
If you can, provide sunscreen for your guests as well. Red as a lobster is not a good departing gift.
Take a Seat
Like the shade, people want to sit down as well. Provide plenty of seating areas.
Place chairs in clusters for conversation. Put blankets in the grass and provide tables for guests to set drinks and food.
Feeding the Masses
Always plan to have more food than you need. In fact plan for about 50% more, especially snack type foods. As for the type of food. Keep with the theme or make it a potluck. Simple, classic, finger foods are always nice and make it easy for your guests to munch without needing all the extra utensils. Fruit and veggies, chips and dip, anything grilled, rollups, and deli sandwiches are always nice, simple food choices.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Provide an assortment of drinks, or tell the guests ahead of time what you plan to provide so they can accommodate for anything they may want instead.
Always provide plenty of water and ice, especially in warmer weather. Some other great drink options are, lemonade, white wine, beer, and sangria.
Ambiance with Music
Set the mood with music. It doesn't need to be loud, but there should be something playing in the background.
What type of music depends on the crowd. Some parties will allow for loud, fast music, while others are better with soft, slow coffeehouse type music.
Use your judgement. Don't play it too loud, more than likely you will want your guests to have good conversation as well.
Decorate with a Theme
A theme makes decorating for the party easier and makes it look great as well. It doesn't need to be a full blown theme but at least pick the colors you would like to use and a few items to bring it all together. You can incorporate them with your tablecloths, centerpieces, hanging decor, serving ware, and more.
Just a few flowers in the garden can be the start of a perfect color scheme. Nature in itself, provides great color combinations. Use what you have and build on it to create the perfect outdoor decor.
Yard games are a great way to get people involved in the party, break the ice and keep everyone entertained. There are so many great games to play outdoors. Some favorites are corn hole, yahtzee, jenga, ladder golf and washers.
Even just a few footballs or basketballs are great to have just sitting around.
After all the prep work is complete, it's time to sit back and relax. Enjoy the party and your company.